Monday, September 8, 2014

Religious Scare Tactics Against Gay Marriage

Big Brother by Frederic Guimont

by Brig Bagley

8 September, 2014

Last week, the LDS Church joined several other religious-based groups in an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court urging the justices to take on the case. They made several claims that have been heard before, but the focus is on the burden that current cases place on states and churches. They claim that the state is stripped of its right to define marriage as it pleases, since marriage is not explicitly defined within the US Constitution, and therefore is delegated to be ruled by the states. 

A Catholic editorial recently outlined 5 reasons gay marriage affects people that aren't married or gay. 

1) Freedom to Worship - The article gives examples of two countries that have experienced government intervention in churches that have refused to perform SSM. It says that these cases will lead to the loss of government benefits and fines to bring them to bankruptcy. 

I say great. If you want to receive money from the government, you need to play by the government's rules. That includes equal treatment of its members, despite sexual preference. You should muster your own funds with member contributions to finance the discrimination you wish to uphold. Plain and simple. 

2) Freedom of Conscience - Benefits provided by companies owned by religious folks are required to include contraceptives that they don't condone. Churches will also be monitored to be sure that political statements or endorsements are not given in sermons. 

The US Supreme Court recently granted the ability to omit certain contraceptives to private companies in the Hobby Lobby case (unfortunately), so I'm not sure what this author is worried about in that area. But again, if you receive monies or make agreements with the government, you need to play by their rules. Also, it is illegal for a church (benefited by the government) to ask its members to vote specific ways. So yes, let's keep them from breaking the law. It is a little grey when it comes to the line of endorsing a particular vote vs. asking members to vote that way, but it should still be monitored. Remember Prop 8? The LDS Church had to pay fines for violating fair voting laws.

3) Free Speech - A billboard was criticized and campaign office mobbed by SSM supporters. Conservatives are apparently losing their rights when they can't make statements without opposition. 

What about statements like "homosexuality is a sin next to murder," or "gays choose their lifestyle and shouldn't be given benefits for their poor choice," or "gays aren't natural, and could never be as good as parents as a biological man and woman" ? Should gays just roll over and take those comments, too? And what about gay prides across the country? Religious people picket and complain about the celebrations each time. Can't the gays get a break for their free speech? The gays are the ones that used to get shot (by religious people) without consequence just a few decades ago. I think the gays have room to protest conservative statements.

4) Freedom to Assemble - A parade was "bullied" by LGBT people that wanted to participate in the event. New York's parade was "bullied" to the point of being forced to let in the gays. 

Bullying? "Fag" is still used in schools as a degrading term to people that are un-cool. Just as offensive as the slur, "nigger" for blacks, "fag" name-calling is the least of a gay-kids' worries. Bullying of LGBT children is a rising issue, even with adults (a kid's own parents even for crying out loud) rejecting and devaluing a child because of their sexual preferences. I don't think there is any room for conservatives to complain about being bullied in simply letting gay people celebrate their heritage with them. I call BS.

5) Property Rights - A baker in Colorado and a photographer in New Mexico suffered legal consequences for denying services to gay couples requesting cakes/photos for their weddings. Apparently, a private business can have a religion and believe certain ways just like a human can. 

I don't care what a person's beliefs are. Let them have them. But those beliefs cannot be imposed in the policies of a company if they discriminate people or a lifestyle that does not affect the business. A business cannot practice a religion. It has no more religious rights than any other inanimate object. These businesses apparently didn't suffer from the cases, anyway. Other conservatives flocked to them to support their discrimination--booming business. Chick-fil-A experienced the same thing. I still won't patronize their establishment, though, anymore than they condone my lifestyle. Eventually, litigation will force these companies to be blind to sexuality and genders within marriages. You can still practice your religion at home and in your church building. Not your business.

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